Where are you both from and how did you meet?
I’m originally from Milford, NH, but have been in Providence, RI for nine-ish years now. Chris is originally from Melbourne, Australia — he was in Toronto, Canada, for about a year and a half, and has been in Providence, RI, since March.
We met the old fashioned way — you know, the internet! Chris saw a comment on a mutual friend’s page and added me. A few photo likes here and there, a DM or two, and then he added me on snapchat. We sent normal, friendly, everyday stuff back and forth for a while, and that eventually led to us using snapchat more for its ‘chat’ feature. Him being in Australia meant I was waking up when he was going to sleep, and we fell into the habit of saying “good morning’s” and “good night’s.” We soon exchanged phone numbers and made plans to see each other in the states. A few bumps in the road led to that trip never happening. Four or so months later, he applied for a Canadian two-year work/travel visa. He chose Toronto because it was the closest city he could get to me, outside the states. We decided to meet for the first time in New York on December 30th, 2017. He traveled a total of thirty hours from Melbourne, Australia — leaving summer behind to meet me at the front door or our airbnb in a snowy Brooklyn, NY. Our first date was three weeks long.
How did you get engaged?
We were together seven long-distance months before we got engaged. We had filed paperwork about a month before for our fiance visa (k1, 90 Day Fiance… you know the show!), so technically we signed a written letter to the USCIS saying our intent was to be married once approved. We had celebration champagne at the dining room table after that!
I wasn’t expecting too much else really, not even a ring. I said I didn’t need one! Long distance (to Toronto) was a lot, and an expensive monthly flight. What I didn’t know was that Chris had been planning something for months with my best friends. Lori and Paul had Sunday night BBQ’s all summer, so I thought little of one in the middle of July. Chris was in Toronto (so I thought), and I was tired from work and tired of attending things without him. I even texted him telling him I didn’t want to go and I wanted to nap instead!
He had sneakily flown down that Saturday afternoon, even telling me he was going to see a movie so I wouldn’t question why he wasn’t answering my texts for two hours. Sunday afternoon came, all my friends were at the BBQ in the backyard (except my sister and her fiance who were hiding upstairs in the house!), and then I hear someone strumming a guitar down the driveway. Chris was playing and singing our song. He then asked me to marry him with a perfect ring.
Tell us about the planning process.
I actually loved planning it all; I very much needed to be in control of all the details! It was therapeutic for the situation we were in. My least favorite part of planning was our time constraints. Because of the way the K1 visa works, we didn’t know for sure WHEN we could get married until early Marc… and even then we only had ninety days to get married.
How did you come across Lauren Fletcher for you photographer?
I’ve known Lauren for a while now — she actually photographed my best friend’s wedding a few years previous. When Chris and I started talking about getting married, well before we even got engaged, I told him that the only thing I knew that I wanted for sure was Lauren as our photographer.
What made you decide to do a backyard wedding?
Lori had offered it very early on in our planning, but I was tentative to take the offer because it’s a lot to ask! I did do some searching for another ceremony venue, but I could not be more happy with how beyond perfect their backyard turned out. We are forever thankful to them! I would recommend it, given the right circumstances. We had a very small, intimate wedding (thirty-five-ish people) and the set up and thoughtfulness of Lori and Paul’s home fit our needs perfectly.
Did you write your own vows?
We did! That is another thing I knew I wanted to do early on. Honestly, I finished writing mine in the hotel room alone the night before the wedding, and Chris worked on his the week before. We don’t know if that’s great advice, but I think the emotions of the night before really aided in getting them just right. My advice would be to make them YOU.
What inspired you to wear two dresses that day?
With our nearly-impossible and unknown timeline, I did a lot of internet searching. We had spent so much money flying back and forth to each other and on the visa/immigration process, I knew my dress budget was low. I ordered two dresses during a black Friday sale — one from Reformation and one from Lulu’s — still having no idea when we would be able to get married, the season, and even less of an idea where. One was more flowy and simple, and one was pretty and sparkly. They came in the mail and I waited and tried them on with Champagne and two of my bridesmaids. I loved them both and, after all we were going through to get married, I figured why not?
What was your first dance song?
We strayed from anything too traditional for our reception — we were going for more of a cocktail party. So, truthfully, we had no intention of doing a first dance. Plus, the song I would have chosen actually ended up not being our first dance song. Our first dance was the last song of the night: Taylor Swift’s New Years Day. Chris and I first met in person on the day before New Years Eve in New York, and that album was in heavy rotation when we finalized our plans to meet. We had planned it as the last song of the night, and tried to sneak a little dance in without anyone noticing!
Was serving doughnuts at the reception a no brainer since Melissa manages the PVDonuts?
Of course! I’ve been in the kitchen since day one, and naturally Chris loves donuts too, so we had to. I knew exactly what flavors I wanted as well — dunkaroo and peach creme brulee.
Did you run into any issues while planning or on the day of the wedding?
The only issues in planning were slight miscommunications here and there, but everything fell into place easily. I feel very lucky in that way! The only issue on the day of was I forgot my earrings in my hotel room! Luckily, my friend Hogan ran back to the Biltmore and got them out of my room and met us at the photo location just in time!
If you had to narrow it down, what would you say were each of your favorite moments from that day?
Mel: I would 100 percent say the moment after you kiss; the walking-out song starts playing, and you walk back down the aisle. It was an unmatched happiness of the day, knowing you did it and that it was time to celebrate.
Chris: I would say the first moment I saw Mel looking so beautiful in her dress walking down the aisle (it was really hard not to kiss her then and there), and the second favorite moment was during part of my vows. Whilst talking about all of the flights and goodbyes we’ve had to endure, a loud passenger jet flew over our ceremony. I was only aware of this after the fact, but much like Mel and I, the timing was perfect.
Do you have any overall advice for recently engaged couples?
Enjoy it. Enjoy it all. Enjoy the planning, the booking, the deposits, the friends and family, all the celebrating between getting engaged and married, even the stress. Remember you are lucky. And no one is lying when they say it goes by so fast.
How’s married life treating you?
We’ve never been happier. And that’s the truth!
Photographer: Lauren Fletcher // Ceremony: Friends’ residence/backyard in Providence // Reception and Catering: Easy Entertaining // Additional Photos: Lincoln Woods // Officiant: Chris Jelden, Close Friend of the Couple // Hair & Makeup: Angela, Ariana, and Gwen of Ali Lomazzo Beauty // Bride’s Ceremony Dress: Reformation // Bride’s Reception Dress and Bridesmaids’ Dresses Lulu’s // Groom’s Suit: ASOS // Post-Ceremony Snacks and Cake: Whisk Me Away // Doughnuts: PVDonuts // Flowers: Blooming Blossoms // Chair Rentals: Quality Rental // Ceremony Champagne and Rose: Trader Joe’s